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Tools Of A Kind. First Neanderthal cave paintings discovered in Spain - life - 10 February 2012. Cave paintings in Malaga, Spain, could be the oldest yet found – and the first to have been created by Neanderthals.

First Neanderthal cave paintings discovered in Spain - life - 10 February 2012

Looking oddly akin to the DNA double helix, the images in fact depict the seals that the locals would have eaten, says José Luis Sanchidrián at the University of Cordoba, Spain. They have "no parallel in Palaeolithic art", he adds. His team say that charcoal remains found beside six of the paintings – preserved in Spain's Nerja caves – have been radiocarbon dated to between 43,500 and 42,300 years old.

That suggests the paintings may be substantially older than the 30,000-year-old Chauvet cave paintings in south-east France, thought to be the earliest example of Palaeolithic cave art. The next step is to date the paint pigments. Until recently, Neanderthals were thought to have been incapable of creating artistic works. Neanderthals' creativity. Stone Age Art Gets Animated. Welcome to Animation Domination, Stone Age style.

Stone Age Art Gets Animated

By about 30,000 years ago, Europeans were using cartoon-like techniques to give observers the impression that lions and other wild beasts were charging across cave walls, two French investigators find. LEGGING IT OUT Ancient artists at France's Chauvet Cave superimposed drawings of two bison to create an eight-legged beast intended to depict trotting or running, two researchers say. M. Azema, J. Clottes, Chauvet Cave scientific team Ancient artists created graphic stories in caves and illusions of moving animals on rotating bone disks, say archaeologist Marc Azéma of the University of Toulouse–Le Mirail in France and Florent Rivère, an independent artist based in Foix, France. “Stone Age artists intended to give life to their images,” Azéma says. Were Neandertals and Modern Humans Just Ships in the Night? Researchers have long debated how long Neandertals stuck around after modern humans invaded their home territories in Europe and Asia around 40,000 years ago.

Were Neandertals and Modern Humans Just Ships in the Night?

Some say as long as 10,000 years; others think Neandertals went extinct almost immediately. A new radiocarbon dating study of a Neandertal site in Russia concludes that the latter scenario is most likely, and that Neandertals and modern humans were probably like ships in the night. But don’t expect this to be the last word on this contentious subject. Neandertals and modern humans likely encountered one another at least twice during prehistory. The first time was at least 80,000 years ago in the Near East, as evidenced by findings of both Neandertal and modern human bones in caves in Israel.

Industrial revolution sealed Neanderthals' fate - life - 28 July 2011. Forget peaceful interbreeding: a new analysis of archaeological sites in south-west France has resurrected the idea that it was good old-fashioned competition that led to the demise of the European Neanderthals in the face of modern humans.

Industrial revolution sealed Neanderthals' fate - life - 28 July 2011

Since a recent analysis of the revealed the first clear evidence that , researchers from a number of academic fields have seized on this nugget of information to formulate new – and less brutal – hypotheses for the Neanderthals' fate. For instance, immunologists suggest modern humans could survive in Neanderthal territory only because they bred with the locals and so . Mathematicians, meanwhile, have proposed that some Neanderthal populations disappeared not because of fierce competition with a superior species but because of .

But these hypotheses forget a crucial point, says Paul Mellars at the University of Cambridge. Industrial strife. Stone Age toe could redraw human family tree - life - 10 August 2011. ON THE western fringes of Siberia, the Stone Age Denisova cave has surrendered precious treasure: a toe bone that could shed light on early humans' promiscuous relations with their hominin cousins.

Stone Age toe could redraw human family tree - life - 10 August 2011

New Scientist has learned that the bone is now in the care of Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who revealed the first genetic evidence of interbreeding between ancient humans and other hominins (New Scientist, 30 July, p 34). There are tantalising hints that the find strengthens the case for a third major group of hominins circulating in Eurasia at the same time as early humans and the Neanderthals. It might possibly even prove all three groups were interbreeding (see diagram).

The Denisova cave had already yielded a fossil tooth and finger bone, in 2000 and 2008. Last year, Pääbo's DNA analysis suggested both belonged to a previously unknown group of hominins, the Denisovans. Others are less convinced. What's needed is DNA evidence. Human Ancestors Interbred with Related Species. From Nature magazine.

Human Ancestors Interbred with Related Species

Our ancestors bred with other species in the Homo genus, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors say that up to 2% of the genomes of some modern African populations may originally came from a closely related species. Paleontologists have long wondered whether modern humans came from a single, genetically isolated population of hominins or whether we are a genetic mix of various hominin species. Last year, an analysis comparing the Neanderthal genome sequence to that of modern H. sapiens showed that some interbreeding did take place between the two species in Europe some time between 80 and 30,000 years ago and that, to a certain extent, Neanderthals 'live on' in the genes of modern humans.

It has been a mystery whether similar genetic mixing took place among Homo species even earlier, before the populations that became modern humans left Africa. Were Neanderthals Victims of Their Own Success? Neanderthals’ successful adaptation to climate change may have contributed to their extinction by leading to more interactions with humans.

Were Neanderthals Victims of Their Own Success?

Image courtesy of Flickr user e_monk A popular explanation for the disappearance of Neanderthals is that modern humans were superior, evolutionarily speaking. Our ancestors were smarter and more technologically advanced. Deep sea fishing for tuna began 42,000 years ago - life - 24 November 2011. Tuna has been on the menu for a lot longer than we thought.

Deep sea fishing for tuna began 42,000 years ago - life - 24 November 2011

Even 42,000 years ago, the deep-sea dweller wasn't safe from fishing tackle according to new finds in southeast Asia. Our ancestors speak out after 3 million years - life - 23 November 2011. The World's Oldest Profession: Chef. Entoptics or Doodles: Children of the Cave. There was a time when Paleolithic cave paintings were construed primarily through the lens of “art,” an interpretive stance which assumes that at least some Paleolithic peoples were “artists” who painted for pleasure.

Entoptics or Doodles: Children of the Cave

Because this lens is so subjective (and creative), all manner of interpretations were offered. Whether prosaic or fanciful, this approach raised troubling questions. Shelters Date To Stone Age. Easter Island Statue Project. Stonehenge Had Lecture Hall Acoustics. The stone slabs of England's Stonehenge may have been more than just a spectacular sight to the ancient people who built the structure; they likely created an acoustic environment unlike anything they normally experienced, new research hints.

Stonehenge Had Lecture Hall Acoustics

"As they walk inside they would have perceived the sound environment around them had changed in some way,"said researcher Bruno Fazenda, a professor at the University of Salford in the United Kingdom. "They would have been stricken by it, they would say, 'This is different.'" These Neolithic people might have felt as modern people do upon entering a cathedral, Fazenda told LiveScience. Easter Island. “The statues walked,” Easter Islanders say. Archaeologists are still trying to figure out how—and whether their story is a cautionary tale of environmental disaster or a celebration of human ingenuity. By Hannah Bloch Video Animation by Hans Weise, Spencer Millsap, Fernando G. Baptista, and Fanna Gebreyesus On a winter night last June, José Antonio Tuki, a 30-year-old artist on Easter Island, did one of the things he loves best: He left his one-room home on the southwest coast and hiked north across the island to Anakena beach.

How Africa Became the Cradle of Humankind. Iceman Autopsy. By Stephen S. Hall. Ötzi the iceman's stomach throws up a surprise - life - 11 December 2011.